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Micro-Gravity Using Sound Waves

Acoustic Levitation Video Shows Liquid Droplets Floating On Sound Waves In Midair

Acoustic Levitation

Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have discovered a way to use sound waves to levitate individual droplets of solutions.

From Argonne Labs comes this intriguing video demonstrating the acoustic levitation of liquids on a piece of equipment developed for NASA to simulate microgravity conditions.

The acoustic levitator uses two small speakers to generate sound waves at frequencies slightly above the audible range – roughly 22 kilohertz. When the top and bottom speakers are precisely aligned, they create two sets of sound waves that perfectly interfere with each other, setting up a phenomenon known as a standing wave.

At certain points along a standing wave, known as nodes, there is no net transfer of energy at all. Because the acoustic pressure from the sound waves is sufficient to cancel the effect of gravity, light objects are able to levitate when placed at the nodes. These drops of solution remain suspended for a long period of time, thanks to the vibrational force of sound waves that keep them stationary in an air column. (Photo by Dan Harris)

To learn more how it might be used to develop pharmaceuticals, read more at Argonne’s website.

Argonne scientist Chris Benmore demonstrates his acoustic levitator, which could help to improve the efficiency and quality of pharmaceutical development. (Photo by Dan Harris)

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy‘sOffice of Science.

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.  For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

Sources: http://www.anl.gov/articles/no-magic-show-real-world-levitation-inspire-better-pharmaceuticals

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